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Last time I wrote up one of these previews, I focused on how bad the Phillies were doing, and how they might make history with their levels of ineptitude. From there on out, they turned the whole boat around fairly radically and are riding a (probably meaningless) five game winning streak, a streak tied for longest current in MLB, with the Astros and White Sox. That's right friends: it's 2005 again, so quick warn everyone about Hurricane Katrina and invest in YouTube.
In all seriousness, the Phillies' season outlook has likely not been shifted much. They're still one of the worst teams in baseball, but now their starters aren't doing their best "Dress Trev up in a Phillies Uniform" impression. Hamels especially. And he has the privilege tonight of pitching against one of the only teams worse by record than the Phillies: the Colorado Rockies. But, uh, did I mention it's in Coors?
Cole Hamels: Hamels is firmly past his April swoon, and since May 1 has pitched to a worse ERA than in April (3.19 vs 4.05) but has improved peripherals across the board, leading to a swell FIP decrease from 5.57 to 2.85. Chances are he could improve on this tonight if he doesn't get too caught up in Coors-phobia, a disease which the DSM V describes as "letting up mucho home runs because of that thin air."
Anyway, let's be real. If he keeps this up, we have him to enjoy until July, so just crack a beer and have a good evening with it.
Jordan Lyles: Jordan Lyles was secretly servicable for the Rockies in 2014, and he gave them 126.2 innings of league average-ish pitching, earning 1.2 fWAR. Not bad for an Astros also-ran. But he got hurt, and he's always been fairly unremarkable as a pitcher otherwise -- this year, for instance, he's essentially repeating 2014 with less strikeouts and more walks, which basically gets you 2009 or 2010 Mike Pelfrey. And that's a starter that maybe gets you a win, maybe doesn't, who knows?
The Rockies Rotation: Maybe you can win, maybe not, who knows?
Coors Field: "HA HA HA," Coors added to the end of the interview, "WE EAT CURVEBALL HERE. CHANGEUPS DO NOTHING TO US. WE MURDER FASTBALLS. PREPARE TO DIE."
Lance McCullers, Jr: I know, not a Rockie or a Phillie! But I figure you know enough about these two teams to figure out your picks there. McCullers is an intriguing pitching option for tonight. Very high risk, as it's his first ever big league start, and he might just get shelled. But, he's cheap (4600 bucks), and he's likely to be relatively underowned. He's also pretty good, sporting a K/9 over 13 this year in double A, and a walk rate around 3.5. That'll work if he can transfer those skills to the big leagues -- admittedly, a big IF. Still, likely worth the gamble against the suddenly bad A's.